Thursday, October 21, 2010

HSBC with The Two Lions

After reading Kennysia's blog, I got to know the story behind the two lions at the main entrance of HSBC Headquarter in Statue Square, Hong Kong.

And thus, this morning after breakfast, I went to central to visit the two lions.

The two lions are really huge and prestigious. They were named after the names of the managers in 1923, Stephen and Stitt.

(Not able to capture the front side of Stephen
as a few men were sitting beside it)

"When the 1935 building was to be demolished in 1984 the lions were temporarily moved to Statue Square, opposite. As a mark of the respect the lions were held in, the move to Statue Square, and the move back in 1985, were accompanied by the Chairman and senior management of the Bank and the placement of the lions both temporarily and in their current locations was made only after extensive consultations with feng shui practitioners.

Their 2-year sojourn in Statue Square aside, the lions have only left their positions as guardians of the Des Voeux Road entrance of the Bank once: they were confiscated by the Japanese and sent to Japan to be melted down. Luckily the war ended before this could happen, and the lions were recognised by an American sailor in a dockyard in Osaka in 1945. They were returned a few months later and restored to their original positions in October 1946.

The Hong Kong lions are also called Stephen and Stitt, and the Hong Kong Stephen has bullet or shrapnel scars in its left hind-quarters dating from the fighting in the Battle of Hong Kong. When this pair of lions was used as the model for the pair commissioned for the new UK Headquarters of HSBC in 2002, Zambian-born New Zealand sculptor Mark Kennedy was asked not to reproduce these 'war wounds" in the copies.

They had to earn their own battle-scars" (quoted from Wikipedia)

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